Business

Mad Libs: The Carl Icahn Version

Here’s a handy and fun outline to fill in and use to play along with the activist investor as he wages battles on company after company.

Graphic by John Gara for Buzzfeed

In case you haven’t noticed, Carl Icahn likes to talk. A lot. And he often takes a two-step approach to his communication — tweeting first, and then following up with a call into either CNBC or Bloomberg to discuss the thinking behind said tweet. In fact, he did it again today, releasing a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and then taking to CNBC to discuss why the technology company needs to increase its stock buyback program to the tune of $150 billion.

To the astute — or perhaps jaded — Icahn follower, after a while all his activist campaigns sort of bleed into each other. Whether it is Dell, or Netflix, or Apple — or, back in the day, Time Warner, or Yahoo, or Lionsgate — it is almost as if Icahn works from the same script. Indeed, it seems as though you can basically build an activist-investor talking-points outline and substitute in certain names, numbers, and keywords to fit the particular campaign.

So without further ado, here’s the Carl Icahn activist-investor Mad Libs. Fill out and compare your campaign against Icahn’s next planned aggressive action against a publicly traded company. After all, it shouldn’t be too long before his next call to CNBC.

Mad Libs: The Carl Icahn Version


Today I bought [number] million shares of [name of company]. Had a(n) [adjective] conversation with the CEO about the [verb] of the company.

Clearly, [name of company] is undervalued and could use a [verb] to its performance. I mean, I think this is just a no-brainer. The management is acting [adjective] and the board, well, I’ve never [verb, past tense] anything like it before.

Well, maybe once before, when we got involved with [noun]. We got in there and we [verb, past tense] it up. We got in there and said, “We’re gonna [verb] onto this.” And what happened, the [noun] went up fivefold. Investors got [noun]. Everybody [verb, past tense].

When you look at [noun] company, it is basically the same [noun]. We just think it is [adverb] undervalued, and there are too many [noun, plural] protecting management from acting responsibly with its [noun].

Look, we have [number] of the best [plural noun] of any investors out there. We’re not going away. We’re in this for the [adjective] run. We’ve heard from several other [plural noun] in the company and they said they want us to [verb]. I can’t tell you who; they told it to me off the [noun]. But trust me, they hold [adjective] stakes in this company too.

I mean, people say that I’m a(n) [adjective] investor, but I don’t know what that means. This is really just [adjective] investing. Boards are not being held [adjective]. And [proper noun], I like him as a person. I found him to be very [adjective]. But he doesn’t know how to [verb] this company or its investors.

If you look at my blog or on my Twitter, you’ll see that this is something I feel [adverb] about. Corporate America has to stop [verb, ending in ‘ing’] on the little guy. If I can take a [noun] for the average [noun] because of my record and my position, then I’m going to do that.

As for Apple, our position [verb, ending in “s”] our belief that the market undervalues the company. Apple is the world’s greatest [noun], and I think CEO Tim Cook is doing a(n) [adjective] job. Still, I think a(n) [adjective] buyback should be done now. The board has no [adjective] right of Kings, and we would consider a proxy [verb] to get it to change things. This board is not above [verb, ending in “ing”]. I’ve told that to Tim and I’ll [verb] it again. The [plural noun] were undervalued when we bought into it, and they are [adjective] now.

If you look back on history, whoever [verb, ending in “s”] on the Establishment is a [verb, past tense] man. I’m a battle-hardened [noun] of [plural noun] markets. Boards need to be accountable, they aren’t [plural noun]. It is not fair that they spend all their [noun] playing golf and at [adjective] parties. Shareholder rights are always being [verb, past tense] on. Some men have died [verb, ending in “ing”] tyranny. The least we can do is [verb] against it.

Carl Icahn. Chip East / Reuters

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